Cotton Candy? Meh! Corny Dogs? Cliche’ If you want to feast upon gourmet fair food there is no other place that compares to the State Fair of Texas. One of the biggest state fairs in the country boasts a worldwide phenomenon every year called the Big Tex Choice Awards where concessionaires with a dream come up with crazy and off the wall fried foods that other fairs around the world often imitate but can never truly duplicate. From funnel cake craft beer to deep fried butter of past competitions, there is no limit to the imaginations that many of this year’s culinary elite and newcomers will concoct to tantalize the taste buds and have you worrying about your cholesterol later. This year’s State Fair of Texas will include foods from past year’s events along with new entries.
Hunt down some of this year’s big game in the fried foods category that has a gamut of gator, lobster and even buffalo. This year’s slate of State Fair concessionaires have outdone themselves yet again with a slew of concoctions that are as creative as they are delicious. Celebrating a decade of decadence in 2014, the annual Big Tex® Choice Awards ceremony opened its doors to a hungry public for the first time last year allowing a limited number of fans to tr the fried foods before everyone else got to hunt them down and try it at the fair. Several hundred bought the first come, first served tickets and the event was bigger and better than ever. Building off of last year’s success, the 11th Annual Big Tex Choice Awards will be presented by Michelin® and will once again give Fair fanatics the chance to get a sneak peek of the 2015 food lineup. Tickets can be purchased for $100 online with the voting and event happening on Sunday, August 30 at 2:30 p.m. in the historic Tower Building. Limited Seats are available.
Big Tex Choice Award Judges
There were over 50 entries this year and narrowing the field to eight was a difficult task. A panel of prestigious judges will pick the winners at the event. Evaluating the finalists for the Best Tasting and Most Creative titles, this year’s judges are: Devin Harris, Dallas Mavericks point guard and member of the 2009 NBA All-Star Team; Drew Pearson, former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver and host of Big Game Sunday on NBC 5 with Newy Scruggs; Dan Rodo, YouTube phenomenon and host of new TV show “Let’s Go! DFW”; John Tesar, renowned chef and owner of local restaurants Knife, Oak and El Bolero; Tiffinni Young, Dallas native, community leader and Dallas City Councilwoman for District 7. In addition, one lucky member of the audience will be chosen to serve as a judge via random drawing. The emcee for the 2015 event will be Donovan Lewis of Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket.
The State Fair of Texas® is thrilled to announce this year’s finalists for the Big Tex Choice Awards, who will compete for the titles of Best Tasting and Most Creative, as well as a set of Michelin Defender LTX tires for both winners include the following entries: Chicken Fried Lobster with Champagne Gravy, Cowboy Corn Crunch, Deep Fried Alligator’s Egg Nest, Fernie’s Holy Moly Carrot Cake Roly, Fried Beer-Battered Buffalo, Lone Star Pork Handle, Pretzel-Crusted Pollo Queso, Smoky Bacon Margarita
All proceeds from the Big Tex Choice Awards ceremony will be donated to the State Fair of Texas Youth Scholarship Program. With a 23 year history, the Youth Scholarship Program has awarded scholarships to more than 1,600 students for a total of more than $4.5 million. Eligible recipients include graduating high school seniors from around the state of Texas who have competed in State Fair livestock events, as well as graduating seniors from five Fair Park area schools – Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, James Madison, Lincoln, North Dallas and Woodrow Wilson High Schools. In 2014, ticket sales for the Big Tex Choice Awards raised more than $18,000 to be donated to the Youth Scholarship Fund. Due to the event’s charitable cause, a portion of each ticket is tax-deductible.
Cowboy Corn Crunch by Isaac Rousso
In a state known for its cowboy culture, this creation captures the quintessential taste of Texas – all in one bite. A kickin’ mixture of sweet corn, minced jalapeño, rich cream cheese and a hint of smoky bacon, the Cowboy Corn Crunch is the perfect blend of savory and spice. This flavorful tot is fried to a golden, crispy brown and served in a unique palm leaf cone, proving especially convenient when walking while snacking around the fairgrounds. Get your taste buds ready, the first bite will knock your boots off!
Chicken Fried Lobster with Champagne Gravy by Abel Gonzales
For the first time in Big Tex Choice Awards history, lobster has made its way on the menu. Adding a flair of fair to a traditionally sophisticated dish, this seafood spread includes an entire lobster tail, breaded and deep fried to perfection. Served with a rich sauce combining lemon butter and champagne gravy, the Chicken Fried Lobster is not your typical carnival concoction. With the lavishness of a lobster dinner and the fried factor of a traditional fair food, this dish will satisfy both a fondness for fanciness and a craving for the classics.
Fernie’s Holy Moly Carrot Cake Roly by Christi Erpillo
Taking a unique spin on a traditional dessert, this sweet treat turns carrot cake into a heaven-filled roll. Golden-baked bread swirled with cinnamon has been flattened and filled with moist carrot cake, plump raisins and crunchy julienned carrots. Rolled with a light coating of cream cheese and then breaded in a mixture of panko, graham crackers, cinnamon and nutmeg – holy moly this is far from your typical dessert! Drizzled with cream cheese frosting and lightly dusted with powdered sugar, this divine confection is served with extra caramel on the side as well as a caramel macchiato cream sauce.
Deep Fried Alligator’s Egg Nest by Cassy Jones
Also making its Big Tex Choice Awards debut this year, alligator throws a whole new flavor into the mix. Giving fairgoers the true Cajun experience without having to travel all the way to the swamplands, the Deep Fried Alligator’s Egg Nest blends rich alligator meat with Monterey Jack cheese, chopped jalapeños, onions and garlic. This flavorful mixture is then rolled in bread crumbs and deep fried to the perfect golden brown. Served atop a “nest” of shoestring potatoes and drizzled with a chipotle sauce, this dish will make you feel like a real ragin’ Cajun!
Fried Beer-Battered Buffalo by James Barrera
Sweeter and richer than the highest quality cut of beef, buffalo meat is another “first” on the Big Tex Choice Awards’ list this year. This dish takes lean ground buffalo and gives it the Texas treatment – flavored with a Mesquite smoke and rolled in Pequin chili pepper, known as our state’s official native pepper. The meat is then crusted in crushed Corn Nuts® and dipped in a batter made from Shiner Bock Beer®, also native to the Lone Star State. Lightly dusted with bacon bits and served with a chipotle cream sauce, the Fried Beer-Battered Buffalo is a tiny taste of Texas.
Lone Star Pork Handle by Justin Martinez
Meat lovers are in for a treat with this hearty helping of deliciousness. The Lone Star Pork Handle takes a hand-cut bone-in pork chop, marinates it with a rich pork rub, then dips it in batter made from Texas’ own Lone Star Beer®. The seasoned pork chop is then smothered in toasted bread crumbs and deep fried to a crisp, golden brown. Finished off with a coat of bourbon barbeque glaze, this savory dish will leave you nothing short of satisfied. As defined in its name, the bone serves as a handle, making this item convenient and easy to carry!
Pretzel-Crusted Pollo Queso by Allan Weiss
With a hint of Tex-Mex in both its name and its flavor, the Pretzel-Crusted Pollo Queso is just the right amount of spice. Shredded chicken is combined with a rich blend of cream cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, bacon, cilantro and Sriracha sauce. Rolled into a ball and crusted with a crispy pretzel breading, this item is then deep fried to golden perfection. Served with a jalapeño ranch dipping sauce for an extra kick, this dish is crunchy on the outside while keeping its center perfectly soft and gooey for the ultimate savory experience.
Smoky Bacon Margarita by Isaac Rousso
An unconventional pairing of flavors adds a subtle smoky taste to a traditionally tangy drink. The Smoky Bacon Margarita takes the smokiness of freshly-cooked bacon and infuses it into a frozen lime margarita. With just a hint of smoke, this drink still captures the zesty citrus flavor of a traditional margarita. Finished off with a pinch of bacon crumbles on top, this thirst-quenching drink is served in a collectible souvenir cup for an added funky flair. Sip on this refreshing beverage and cool off from the Texas heat! Contains alcohol – must be 21 years of age.